Channel 4’s head of drama Piers Wenger has been appointed as the new Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning.

C4 has promoted deputy head of drama Beth Willis to replace Wenger.

Willis is due to go on maternity leave this summer, so C4’s head of comedy Phil Clarke will take up the role of head of scripted and will oversee both drama and comedy commissioning until she returns.

Wenger replaces Polly Hill at the BBC, who was poached by ITV in April.

At the BBC, Wenger will be responsible for overseeing more than 450 hours of drama a year.

Wenger has been Head of Drama at Channel 4 drama since 2012, commissioning original scripted drama across both Channel 4 and E4 such as Indian Summers, Paul Abbott’s No Offence and Humans.

Before Channel 4, Wenger was Head of Drama at BBC Wales and was the executive producer of Doctor Who when Matt Smith was in the lead role. His other BBC commissioning credits include Tom Stoppard’s Parade’s End; Christopher And His Kind; and Eric And Ernie which starred Victoria Wood.

He joined the BBC in 2008. Before that he produced Housewife 49 for ITV and Ballet Shoes for the BBC, and was head of development at Granada Drama. He read English Literature at University of Exeter.

Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC TV Channels and iPlayer, said: “Piers is a brilliant creative leader with great taste and a passion for writing. He has a breadth of experience and knowledge of the global industry, as well as a real understanding of audiences.”

Wenger said: "I have had an unforgettable and brilliant time at Channel 4 and it is with real sadness that I am saying goodbye. But the scope and scale of BBC Drama make this an irresistible challenge and I could not be more excited about joining the talented team there and for the new relationships and creative adventures which lie ahead of me at the BBC."

He will take up his new role in the autumn.

Staff Reporter